Thursday, September 10, 2015

Winchester in the fall

Colors, sunshine, and happy Trailblazers
Today fifteen Senior Trailblazers gathered to go on a fairly short but beautiful hike on Winchester Mountain. It could not have been a more perfect day. This hike, while short, is spectacular when you have a day like today. One of the reasons we don't do it more often is the horrendous road to the Twin Lakes trailhead. It takes almost an hour once we leave the highway to make our way up a terrifying rutted one-way road, which only the most hardy vehicles even attempt. But our three cars made it and we began our hike in incredible sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.
Trail junction: Winchester to the left, High Pass to the right
About a half-mile from the start, we have a junction. Six of our group went up to High Pass and the rest, nine of us, made our way to the lookout on the top of Winchester Mountain. I went with the larger group, and we made our way up the two miles without any hurry at all, since we didn't have far to go and all day to do it in.
Larrabee Mountain on the left
On our way to the top, we saw a snow field, even though it's been horrendously hot this summer. This is probably around 6,000 feet (1,830 m) of elevation, so it's quite high. We start above 5,000 feet and climb about 1,300 feet to the lookout tower.
Sign on lookout tower
As you can see from this sign, our elevation at the top is 6,521 feet (1,988 m). That's pretty darn high, with a 360-degree view all around. Notice that beautiful mountain? That's Komo Kulshan, otherwise known as Mt. Baker. I just learned recently that the Lummi and Nooksack Indian name for the mountain means "White Shining Mountain," or "Great White Watcher," which seems much more appropriate a name than "Baker." The mountain was a beautiful part of the fantastic view we had today.
Incredible mountains and view behind me (taken by Carol)
It's a rare hike when we have so much time to lounge around and not hurry from one place to the next. From here we could look across at High Pass and see our other six Trailblazers as they enjoyed a very nice lunch in the sunshine. (You needed binoculars to see them, but we had some.) And then we began our descent, rather reluctantly I must say, and we stopped to take lots of pictures. Here's what Twin Lakes looks like from the top of Winchester.
Twin Lakes
I did not mess with the color of this photo at all. I was simply amazed at the incredible color and detail that just happened with my cellphone. You can see the parking area between the lakes, showing quite a few people out enjoying the day, even though it's Thursday. What must this area be like on the weekends? I don't want to find out firsthand.
One of the lakes with colorful grasses in the foreground
As I was returning down the trail, I saw Carol crouching low to take a picture, and when I got there, I saw why: the beautiful reds, yellows, greens and blues of this picture just take my breath away! What a view we had. What a day we had.
Four nude swimming Trailblazers
And once we returned to the trailhead, four of the Trailblazers crept quietly away to strip off their clothes and take a quick dip in the water. Of course Rich was there (he always is), but three other Trailblazers who will remain unnamed also went into the cold water for a quick swim and splash. I hurried over to see if I could catch them in the act. Nothing to see here, just the fall colors and four screaming Trailblazers. It was a perfect way to end the day, just a perfect day filled with laughter.
:-)

20 comments:

  1. How absolutely sublime.
    And I think I would have had to swim... Screaming optional. Laughter compulsory.

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  2. Your Trailblazers are a wilder group than i realized!

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  3. Lovely views and gorgeous fall colors! Can't wait to get out and capture some around my 'hood.

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  4. Watch out for those Trailblazers! What fun!

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  5. There always seems to be very brilliant color in the high country. Above the tree line frosts start very early in the season. It's also no surprise to find new snow.

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  6. Beautiful pictures. I would never go swimming nude anywhere!

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  7. Wow, you weren't kidding when you said earlier that you could see hints of fall! Those pictures are stunning!! Somehow the skinny dippers don't surprise me. Have a fabulous weekend, my friend.

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  8. laughing out loud!! such beauty (before the nudists...) and i like 'great white watcher' a lot!

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  9. The beauty there is breathtaking! You trailblazers will probably outlive everyone just because you're so hardly and have so much fun!

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  10. Skinny dipping...I would be with that group! Beautiful photos today...your cell phone takes nice photos! Another great hike...soon that water will be to cold to take a dip:)

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  11. This was a lovely day. Looks like you and the gang made good use of it. Wonderful scenery!
    So I want to know - would you go skinny dipping?

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  12. What a beautiful day, glad your group enjoyed it to the max :-)

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  13. What a view! And I'm impressed with how high you were. I'm a flatlander myself; I can't breathe when I get above 4000 feet.

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  14. You're dangerous to some with a camera--LOL!
    What a beautiful day. Hard to believe there are already fall colors about. A leisurely climb sounds much better to me. ;)

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  15. Now that is a hike I could relate to. Not hurried nor with hours watching your feet. You got to enjoy the scenery and relax a bit. Love the Indian names for the mountains and those twin lakes are charming.

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  16. Rated R!! rofl.

    That image of twin lakes is just plain awesome.

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  17. I am amazed at the colour change and the twin lakes together is just beautiful. I laughed out loud with the nudie swimmers. ha,ha

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  18. the photos look like postcards. So beautiful.

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  19. Wow, DJan! The scenery and your photos are just awesome. It takes your breath away.

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